The months leading up to hurricane season are so important for the National Hurricane Center when it comes to community outreach and helping people prepare. But with COVID-19 impacting their normal routine, they’re taking a digital approach this year and this week your kids can participate, too.
"We came up with a way to do it virtually,” explains John Cangialosi, a Hurricane Specialist for the National Hurricane Center. “And then we thought well this could be great for students because students are not in school, we wanted to provide education while still providing hurricane preparedness, that's kind of where the idea came from and to make it a little more intimate for the students we thought well let’s just do it for different regions across the country each week."
And this week, it’s New England’s turn!
"New England is our last stop so I think we'll be best for New England because we've done a whole bunch of times through the country so far,” says Cangialosi.
Some 300-500 students participate in each webinar geared towards fourth, fifth and sixth graders, where they learn about hurricane science and how to prepare from hurricane specialists. They'll hear from local national weather service meteorologists, and they also get a chance to interact with a hurricane hunter – pilots who fly airplanes into hurricanes to retrieve data. And at the end of the hour long webinar, they get a chance to ask questions!
"They really get a feeling of this is intimate and they're part of it and I think the feedback has been tremendous the kids seem to really enjoy it the teachers seem to find this very valuable in lessons of science and it's very applied since hurricane season is coming as you know."
And while hurricanes aren’t common in New England, Connecticut is no stranger to these powerful storms. Most recently, Sandy caused significant damage along the Connecticut shoreline in 2012 with Bridgeport and New Haven measuring a storm surge over 9 feet with approximately 3,000 homes damaged along the shoreline. And the year before that, Irene left 750,000 people without power at the height of the storm, with structural damage from East Haven to Fairfield.
"One of the things, especially for coastal Connecticut, is vulnerable to is storm surge. Very vulnerable there across all of New England. So we're going to talk to that we're going to hit that hard this week in the webinars is speaking to the vulnerability,” says Cangialosi.
You can register for the upcoming webinar on Thursday at 11 a.m. at https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/8430932422771259405. The webinar will also be available on YouTube after the Thursday session.